Tigers Open SECU Arena With Exhibition Victory
Benimon, Burwell combine for 34 points as Towson pulls away for 86-65 win
TOWSON, Md. – The Towson University men’s basketball team played its first game in the brand new SECU Arena on Thursday night, downing Bloomsburg (Pa.) University, 86-65, in the first of two exhibition games for the Tigers.
The senior duo of Mike Burwell and Jerrelle Benimon led the way for the Towson, combining for 34 points and 13 rebounds. Twelve different Tigers saw action in the exhibition, with nine scoring at least three points.
After a close first half, Towson stepped up its defensive efforts in the final 20 minutes. The Tigers limited Bloomsburg to just six field goals on 24 percent shooting in the final stanza. Towson also took advantage of a dominant effort from the free throw line, making 38 of 53 from the charity stripe, including 14-for-18 shooting from Benimon.
Sophomore Jerome Hairston was also in double figures for the Tigers with 11 points to go along with a team-high tying three assists. In his first action in a Towson uniform, sophomore transfer Four McGlynn tallied nine points, including a three-pointer and four-for-four shooting from the free throw line.
Led by Dontahe Jordan and Jon Riles, Bloomsburg opened the game hitting seven of its first 14 field goal attempts and raced out to an early 18-8 lead. Towson methodically clawed its way back into the game, going on an 18-5 run over a span of 7:27 to take a 26-23 lead that was punctuated by freshman John Davis’ dunk with 5:25 to play in the opening half. However, the Tigers would trail 40-39 at the intermission.
In the second half, Towson took control for good. The home team recaptured the lead at 49-48 on freshman forward Walter Foster’s block and transition dunk on the other end of the floor. That sequence sparked a 20-7 Tigers run and Towson led 69-55 with just under eight minutes to play. The Tigers would lead by as many as 26 in the second half.
For the game, Towson shot 40.7 percent (22-of54) and held a 51-31 rebounding advantage. The Tigers also forced 22 turnovers and scored 28 points off those miscues.
Burwell finished with a game-high 20 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Senior Marcus Damas chipped in nine points, while classmate Rafriel Guthrie added eight points and a team-high tying seven rebounds.
Bloomsburg was led by Riles’ 16 points, including 4-for-5 shooting from three-point range.
The Tigers wrap up their exhibition schedule next Wednesday at home against Mansfield. Tip time is set for 7:30 p.m. from SECU Arena.